I had the crazy idea to try and design a Tron Identity disc. Follow along below to see how I did it and some of the decisions and processes I made along the way.
I got bored the other week and decided to design a chess set.
I decided I wanted to make the chess set quite small and travel size but didn’t want to lose the natural feel that you get from playing on a full-size board.
I conquered this by making a folding wooden chess set. All pieces and the board will be made out of wood and will be somewhat magnetic to make sure the pieces don’t go flying around in the car… I guess I might be the only one that tries to play chess in a car…
After I wrote down all of the must haves and a few wants I went to town designing. I drew up a rough sketch of what I thought the final design might look like and jumped right into Solidworks to start designing some pieces.
At the time I only had access to a few machines that could achieve the design, the main one I used was the Carvey by Inventables. This allowed me to achieve most of what I needed with a bit of hand finishing later on.
The chess pieces in Solidworks were used as blanks to ensure the right amount of room was on the inside but the final piece design was taken from another maker Beyond Design with their pieces published on the projects space run by Inventables. Here is a link the their project https://www.inventables.com/projects/chess-set
After I modelled the board in Solidworks I used an add-in to convert the parts into SVG files that the Carvey software can understand.
So with all of that here is the final product!
One last minute thing I added was a foam holder for the inside of the box. This was to stop the pieces rattling around inside, and to make sure I hadn’t lost any pieces in the car…
If you would like to make something similar let me know and I can send you through the design files.
Most digital clocks these days are made from microcontrollers, but I wanted an added challenge to use it using only logic chips trying to focus on using the TTL (74xx series) integrated circuits. So, my plan was to design and build a discrete logic clock using no microcontrollers. Since I wanted my clock to be relatively small I chose so only display Hours and Minutes, rather than hours, minutes and seconds. The clock will contain only discrete logic, no microcontrollers.
Before I designed my clock, I researched how clocks worked and explored what others had done. Most people seem to use microcontrollers, for a few reasons one being amount parts and amount of effort. The other designs I found used ripple counters. I went digging around finding out what a ripple counter was. A ripple counter is an Asynchronous (Doesn’t need a system clock) counter, that every time I get a signal on the clock pins ripples through the d-flip flops inside changing the output. each time the chip gets a pulse the ripple counter will increment the output value by one (in binary).
One part that I found common across most of them was a 32.768 kHz crystal. this seemed a perfect starting point, especially since 32768 is 2^15. in other words, if I divide the 32768 Hz signal by 2 15 times I will be left with a 1Hz signal, which is perfect because all clocks start with seconds. To divide a clock signal, I used ripple counters connected to continually divide the clock signal by 2 until the output signal was 1 Hz.
I began prototyping the 1-second segment using a CD4060. I know, not strictly TTL but this IC had a built-in oscillator amplifier and allowed me to divide by 2^14. Following this was 6 74HC93 chips which are ripple counters. these chips will increment themselves every time there is a pulse on their clock pin.
The first clock pin on the ripple counter straight after the CD4060 will be a 2Hz signal. This is because of 32768/2^14 = 2, So to get a 1 Hz signal, or in other words a tick every second you will need to divide the 1 Hz signal again by 2. The 74HC93 make this easy to do by having a separate clock pin (CP1), by feeding the output Q_0 into the CP1 pin the output on Q_1 will now be 1Hz. Now here is where things are up to you. If you want to display the second’s count you need to have an extra 74HC93 ripple counter making the total used 6. This is so you can have one ripple counter for each displayed digit.
The rest of the circuit is straightforward as the concept is very similar. The only difference is where you will connect the AND gates to reset the counters. I was making a 24-Hour clock, it would be simple to make a 12-hour clock two just by playing around with when the hour counters reset.
After all the counting the seconds, minutes and hours it might be useful to set the time. I did this by using a re-triggerable monostable multivibrator. This allowed me to press the button once and only allow the clock to increment by one. You can do this many ways, another one would be having the button link the crystal to the counter to increment it, but this would most likely always cause an overshoot. Below is the schematic for the rest of the clock.
The next step from here will be to prototype the design to make sure it works then design the circuit boards. Send me an email, or comment and let me know what you think!
It’s Finished. Check out the final product here!
It’s April which means it’s Easter. Easter means different things to different people; family, chocolate, or maybe work. For me it’s mainly work, just because it’s easy to get shifts, plus penalty rates. Who doesn’t love getting extra money for the same amount of work? But my Easter was also the start of the Uni break. The break is only a week, and I have mid-session exams when I return, so I can’t relax too much. Just because I have exams, doesn’t mean I can’t take a break from university and catch up with friends and family though.
Some friends from back home planned to come up to Wollongong for the Easter long weekend. We also organised with Maddie in Sydney, to all go to the Easter show together. It was exciting making such a big plan, people travelling hours to see each other, and it being a success means we can do similar stuff again.
The weekend kicked off with a shopping trip, to stock up on food and Easter chocolate. It was the first proper shop I had done in a while, which surprised my mum. The one thing she doesn’t know is how much of it was junk food. It was strange shopping for myself, but it was good being able to choose exactly what I would be eating, for the next week or so. This was only a few days before David arrived for the Easter weekend.
David arrived on Good Friday, I gave him a quick tour of Wollongong. To be honest there isn’t too much to see, it’s quite a small city. It was also a great test of my navigation skills, I don’t think I have ever driven around Wollongong before. We didn’t get lost, well, much. I ended up going on a detour up a hill and through some suburbs I’ve never been before. Even though we got lost it was a great welcome to Wollongong as we could get to see the natural beauty, the beach, and a few important places. From there we headed back to my place and dropped of his baggage.
It was about 6pm when we got back, which is essentially dinner time for me. We made dinner then went down stairs to the basement. We took over the basement rec room and set up an Xbox to the projector. It was awesome being able to setup an Xbox and PC to a massive screen. It doesn’t sound that difficult, but when you’ve never seen the equipment before, it’s hard trying to guess what buttons do, all in hope that you don’t accidentally blow it up. We ended up playing Forza, I won of course … when David didn’t cheat. We then played Tricky Towers, where my Tetris skills came in handy, and I actually won a game. It was fun playing video games and eating fish fingers. Takes me back to the good old days. After this was when we jumped online and played Overwatch with some friends back home and everywhere else. It seemed like a necessary thing for us to do, even though it wasn’t. The rest of the night was spent chilling and watching movies.
Easter Sunday was the day we planned to go to the Easter Show. We woke up around 7am to get ready, cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. Slightly burning the bacon, still better than the pancakes we tried making the day before. It was about 7:20am when we were ready and the train arrived at the station at 7:44am. So, it seemed like we had plenty of time but we were rushing 2 minutes later as we didn’t realise how long it was going to take to get there. But thankfully we made it on time and caught the train. The plan was to go to Maddie’s house and drop off a computer to do some data transfer then head over to the Easter show.
We arrived at the show ground around 10:30-11am. Heaps of people started rolling in with us. It was weird seeing this many people on an Easter Sunday, I guess I’m not used to going out on the Sunday. We basically walked straight in, having already pre-purchased our tickets online. Even though it with most events they say, “Save time, buy online” you don’t always save that time. The next step was to get ride tickets, which wasn’t too hard considering the amount of ticket stalls around the park.
We first went through the animal section of the show, watching bits and pieces of various competitions for all sorts of animals. We continued to walk around the park, seeing some of the other attractions at the show, including an artist that was doing live spray painting on massive canvases. It was quite impressive how they could create something by layering different spray paint. After this was when we started the hunt for the big rides, not the tea cups.
It was strange not being able to see most of the rides before we got to them, I guess I remember them being a lot bigger. We only went on a few rides, which was fun but I wish we went on more. The five rides we went on was the dodgem cars, nitro coaster, alien abduction, space roller, and Speed2. It was amusing watching people get off the spinning rides and them not being able to walk in a straight line.
Dodgem cars and the nitro coaster are pretty self-explanatory, one was bumper cars and the other was a fast roller-coaster – with a loop-de-loop. I enjoyed these rides the most, because I’ve never been on a roller-coaster with a loop, and who doesn’t love crashing into their friends? The Alien Abduction was like a massive washing machine, it spun around pushing you up against the wall. It was funny watching the cameras watching the people inside. The next two rides were similar, just varied sizes. Space Roller was kind of like a star that spun and rolled you around while sniping in the air. speed 2 was similar in the spinning part, but it more spun you on a beam instead of in your seat. So, you went really high then quickly to the ground and back up, like a fast Ferris wheel.
It was now about 1:30pm and when we finally decided to get food, now that we finished with the rides and no one felt sick after the rides. There were the usual places, like burgers and pizza. We decided upon wood-fire pizza, and fresh lemonade. That was mainly because it was the first thing we saw. The pizza place also just happened to be out the front of the stadium, so we went and sat down in there to have lunch. There was a few horse competitions happening on inside the stadium, so we had lunch and a show. I was disappointed though, as we just missed the car and motocross show. After the food we went and got a spiral potato on a stick, which tasted really nice, because it was basically chips, but on a stick.
But what would a show be without the necessary show bag at the end. We made our way over to the show bag pavilion, passing more super fluffy animals, more food and plenty of rides. it was interesting to see what rides and stalls got the most people. We made it into the massive warehouse full of people and show bags. There was the usual selection of show bags, like food, lifestyle and toys. But I went for the lolly show bags, because none of the other show bags really took my fancy. I ended up settling for 3 sugar filled show bags, mainly because they were apart of a 3 for $12 deal.
I really enjoyed the entire weekend. It’s not everyday you get such nice break from uni that isn’t filled with study. Catching up with friends was probably the part I enjoyed the most, especially since I haven’t seen them in a few months. I would definitely organise something like this again, and maybe next time more people, and a different event.